Alongside our heartbeat, breath is the most fundamental rhythmic impulse of human life.  From the moment we open our eyes in the world the body begins the intricate process, a process uniquely accessible to our conscious mind.

 

 

Since far back in history mankind has attempted to use breath for a range of purposes beyond its biological function. A channel to higher consciousness, a pathway to spiritual fulfilment, or simply a means of catching more fish for dinner – different cultures have found innumerable ways of engaging with the seemingly simple act of breathing.

Our Breath Often Embodies Our Emotions

 

When we sigh in contentment, exasperation or relief, breath makes our state of mind known to those around us. When we feel anxious or scared, we sometimes struggle to catch our breath as it becomes more shallow and rapid. When we are relaxed and calm, we breathe deeply and slowly. Just as our breath reflects how we’re feeling, we can use our breathing to calm down, to centre ourselves, and to regulate our stress.

 

 

The Western scientific community has engaged more and more with breathing practices over the past few decades. Developed in the 60s and 70s as an alternative to psychotropic drugs, Holotropic Breathing aims to help trauma sufferers by exposing them to a new state of consciousness through intense breathwork and is used alongside therapy to aid patients in letting go of anger and fear. In sport meanwhile, free-divers use targeted hyperventilation and new techniques like Coherent Breathing – a practice centred on optimising breath intake at around 5 breaths per minute – to stay underwater for longer in challenging conditions.

 

 

Luckily, we don’t need to become a record-breaking diver or a monk to experience the positive effects of conscious breathing in our daily lives. Simply taking time to be aware of our breath, to follow the ebb and flow of its continual motion, allows us a calm mental space to reconnect with ourselves. Breath is mutable; it is both what we are and what we do, active or passive depending on our level of conscious engagement. Sometimes, all we need to do is breathe.

If you want to explore this further with one of our experienced coaches, enquire using the button below today and find out how coaching can help you today.

Chris Blakeley

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